The benefit is a cabaret show headlined by one of Pig Iron's founding company members, Dito van Reigersberg, in his cabaret, drag alter ego: Martha Graham Cracker.
After meeting Dito van Reigersberg and hearing about the benefit, Michael approached Nathan Renner-Johnson, the Production and Facilities Manager at the theater about making this scenery the focus of his J-Term class. It seemed like a good match from the start. Pig Iron has a strong Quaker history; the founders met at Swarthmore College, and the company embraces non-hierarchical collaborative structure in their process.
So, the partnership began.
The company typically selects a fun theme gives the benefit performance a title with a pig pun. This year, the theme is Western and the pun is "This Town Ain't Pig Enough for the Both of Us."
Michael's students have been working with a team of theatre professionals, including designers, directors and performers, technical and production staff, and are bringing the set from first design conception to fruition. Not only are they engineering and constructing the set, but they'll soon have the unique opportunity (via a special field trip) to load it into the Trocadero Theatre in Center City, work with performers to technically program the show, then work as the backstage crew during the performance.
Nathan believes this is a great learning experience. "This event gives the students the opportunity to see the set go from drawing to realization all within a very short amount of time. It allows them to see how an event like this comes together from load-in to tech rehearsals to performance to load-out all in the span of a day. So, in general, it's a nice, quick, condensed version of the normal production process that they can see and participate in."
Michael says, "So far, everyone is loving it. And hopefully all the students will be involved in the whole day and night on the 27th."
This Town Ain't Pig Enough for the Both of Us
Friday, January 27
1003 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107